6 Underground

6under1Oh my fragile senses. What horror that Netflix and Michael Bay just wreaked upon me; I rather feel like I’ve just been somehow assaulted by my television. I’m in something of a stunned daze. I don’t think my eyes or ears are still working and I’m finding it as difficult to string words together into cogent sentences as it does for most of the characters in this fraking movie (“Not the puppies!”/”She’s lost a shit ton of blood”/”Nobody is going to save the world. But we can make it a little less shitty, you know?”).

I’m such a stupid schmuck.  I watched another Michael Bay movie. Oh, I knew what I was doing, I knew the risks, but I knew nothing about this film and as its a Netflix Original, I just thought, well, its going to be a much smaller budget than he’s used to,  it’ll be slower, quieter, more intimate, maybe have a plot even. Wrong. I’m such an idiot.

6 Underground is a $150 million dollar Michael Bay blockbuster with him let absolutely totally loose without a studio bothering to rein him  in or anything, its like anything goes, the ultimate Michael Bay frakfest extravaganza, Welcome to Michael Bay Film School. Its an orgy of exploding cars, exploding people, blood spurting in slow motion, long slow lingering pans over hot women’s bodies, its gun-porn, chase-porn, explosion-porn, bullet-porn, impossible stunts-porn… really, this thing is the very definition of the worst a Mission: Impossible movie could possibly be. I hadn’t realised just how mundane and restrained those Tom Cruise/Christopher McQuarrie arthouse spy flicks were. This film begins with a fifteen/twenty minute car chase through Florence, Italy in which civilians are run over by the good guys, or gunned down by bad guys, streets are wrecked, puppies and babies endangered, cars get ripped in two and bodies are blown apart, impaled, smashed, burned, ripped….

I’ve now reached some kind of epiphany: all those years, when Michael Bay was going around making films like The Rock and those Transformers films, Pearl Harbor or the Bad Boys films, I thought he was just making silly loud blockbusters but really he was perfecting some whole new kind of movie-making, a whole new art-form hitherto undreamed of by any Film School known to man. This thing is the new 3D or the new Imax. This is The Future. Some day all films will be as loud and fast and stupid as this. Yeah, you THINK most films are loud, fast and stupid, but you ain’t seen this, you ain’t seen NOTHING.

So. Lets see if I can stretch what this film excuses for a plot into a paragraph. The 6 Underground are six ‘dead’ people, they are ‘ghosts’ who have faked their own deaths (or had them faked for them) in order to go all A-Team and beat the biggest Bad Guys from beyond the grave- unknowable, untouchable, utterly expendable; these six beautiful people (Ryan Reynolds,  Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy and Dave Franco, yeah that’s right I named seven, its a Michael Bay movie) in beautiful places turning murder and mayhem into a work of art. Ryan Reynolds is the leader, ‘Number One’, a genius tech-billionaire with a conscience (yes there is such a thing, that’s the magic of Hollywood), who has recruited a team of ex-CIA/ex-assassin/ex-underworld experts (‘Number Two’, ‘Number Three’ etc etc) in order to right the wrongs that our lousy untrustworthy Governments refuse to because obviously everyone is corrupt other than our ‘ghosts’. Hence today’s mission is sorting out the dastardly dictator of poor Turgistan (I kid you not), first by killing his Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse/Generals while they are vacationing in Las Vegas at a Chemical Warfare convention (or something), and then freeing his brother who has been terrifyingly imprisoned in the Penthouse Suite of the most mindbogglingly lavish billionaire apartment in a city ‘somewhere exotic’  before crashing the dictators state-run television network and then a party on his billionaire yacht.

Naturally doing this involves killing lots and lots and lots of people and blowing up all kinds of shit. Its some kind of brilliant genius, to be sure. At this point in his career, and running utterly amok as he is thanks to those depraved bastards at Netflix, Bay has this down to some kind of relentless, terrifyingly efficient machine, a film posing as Terminator. Its horrible and beautiful and brilliant and bloody awful. Even now, I cannot quite believe it. Did I see it? Did I hear it?

I feel a little like dear old Charlton Heston on the beach: “Those crazy bastards (Netflix). They did it. They really did it. They gave Bay $150 million and Final Cut. Those crazy bastards.” Cue falling to my knees in despair, fists clenched towards my shamed OLED. The End.

8 thoughts on “6 Underground

    1. Ha ha- well, in all honesty its so mad and bad that I can definitely see myself watching it again someday. I have an almost morbid fascination with bad movies, and in the case of Bay’s films, well, technically they are so well made its quite bizarre- no one can shoot explosions and action sequences quite like him, he’s like the worlds best stunt choreographer being let rip on a whole movie, time and again, sinking them with bad performances, lousy characters, hokey plots. Somebody give this bloke a decent script with good characters, please.

      (That said, this film features the worst stunt double ever- the guy who doubles for Ben Hardy’s character as he leaps over buildings is so bad and obvious its hilarious. Maybe they skimped on the CG head replacement. As it is, a drinking game where you take a drink every-time you see the obvious stunt guy would have most people so drunk they wouldn’t manage the mid-point of the movie).

      1. Tom

        Haha! I like that idea. I’m curious to see this, but man oh man. Michael Bay really is the epitome of a one-trick pony, eh? I think it’s a credit to you that you (and like I do, occasionally, when in a good mood) nod toward his gift for staging/blocking/whatever-ing an action set piece. He really is the best at creating full-blown visual chaos on screen. To hell with human characters, though. It does really make one wonder what he’d do with a strong script, a story that doesn’t revolve around linking four half-hour long action scenes together to call it a movie. I still have yet to see The Rock, from what I hear that’s as good as it gets in terms of story for him.

      2. Yeah, The Rock is possibly Bay at his best. Its got all his hallmarks and is hardly the most intelligent actioner, but you can tell that Bay has less freedom and is being supervised, at least to some extent, by his producers (it was a Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer flick, hardly the most introverted producers I admit but certainly Bay clearly wasn’t the boss on that picture).

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  2. Talking of The Rock, I rewatched that the other day on a whim and bloody loved it, so it gets a hearty recommendation from me. In fact, it’s what led me to finally watching 6 Underground last night, and therefore reading this review (and I’ll be toddling off to read Tom’s in a sec).

    So, this is better than a lot of Bay’s other recent movies. No, really. Compared to some of his Transformers flicks, this is restrained. The editing and plot make more sense. “More” being the operative word. I actually quite liked the opening 20-minute car chase. It’s utterly bonkers, but fun because of it. But then the whole movie’s down hill from there, for so many reasons.

    They’re talking of turning it into a trilogy, and there’s chatter about a prequel for Dave Franco’s character too. And you know what, I’ll probably watch ’em all, to my shame.

    1. That’s the damnedest thing about his stuff: its almost hypnotic, you know its terrible but you just have to watch. Everytime I catch Armageddon showing on TV, whether its the midpoint or something I start watching it and end up seeing it to the end. Its a terrible film but there’s something fascinating about the acting/characters/the whole barmy OTT excess of the stupidity of the thing. The curious thing is that Deep Impact, the ‘better’ of those two End of the World movies that came out that summer, is clearly the much better film but I don’t rewatch that at all.

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